It’s time the British public and the media took MEPs and the European Parliament more seriously. I should qualify that remark by saying that I am well aware of the tendency of politicians of all shapes and sizes to assume an exaggerated sense of their own importance. However, my plea is not motivated by personal aggrandisement but by the need to project British national interest. On any objective measure there is no doubting that MEPs’ political responsibility has increased markedly in the past 20 years since the Maastricht treaty, when co-decision between parliament and Council was introduced, and particularly so since the Lisbon treaty came into force in December 2009, when its powers were extended. Certainly in almost twelve years as an MEP I have noticed far greater interest in and coverage of my work by my London constituents and the media, although ironically foreign media are often more interested in my work than British journalists.